In advance of their forthcoming appearance at Ibiza Rocks on September 3rd, I bagged an interview with bass player Simon Rix of the Kaiser Chiefs to find out what rocks his world. The Kaiser Chiefs played at Ibiza Rocks for the first time back in 2005 when they were on the cusp of stardom as their first album ‘Employment’ stormed into the UK charts at number two. They returned to play Ibiza Rocks in 2007 and again in 2012. The last eighteen months have been an interesting time for the band, with drummer Nick Hodgson (one of their chief songwriters) leaving the band, singer Ricky Wilson appearing as a judge on BBC talent show ‘The Voice’ and their fifth album ‘Education, Education, Education and War’ taking them to the top of the charts again in the UK, after a spell of them being out of them. The five piece band from Leeds were a tightly-knit group of mates who have been playing together since 2000 (when they formed their previous band Parva), so what does it all mean to Simon and what does he remember of the previous three gigs in Ibiza?
Claire B: This will be the fourth time you’ve played at Ibiza Rocks. Do you have any special memories of playing here?
It’s always been good. Every time we’ve played it’s been in a different place. So, the first time it was the first ever Ibiza Rocks, and we were at Manumission and that was a unique event, there were lots of people there, and we were very young and fresh faced, so everything was exciting and we had a good night out and we all really loved Ibiza, because none of us had ever been before that, so that was good. The next time was at Bar M, and then the next time we played in the hotel, and then this time we’re playing there again. I don’t really have any unique memories I don’t think, but it’s always a great crowd. It’s always nice to hang out for a few days. The first time we came we had a week in Ibiza, which was back in 2005 and which for us was the year of our lives when Entertainment came out, and we hadn’t had any time off for about eighteen months so it was great, sitting round the pool, having a good time.
Claire B: Last time you played here Ricky ran round to the press room and grabbed hold of a bottle of Jack Daniels and started drinking from it on the balcony, and after the last songhe scaled the VIP balcony and jumped into the swimming pool. Are there any plans to top that this year?
Well that’s going to be very difficult. I remember him doing that. Ricky is quite famous, I think, for going for a wander around and having an explore. I think that jumping in the pool, I think that the best thing he ever did was when we were playing at a very hot festival, he went off and got on top of a fire truck and then sprayed water from the fire truck onto the audience. So maybe he could do that again.
Claire B: We had better see if we can get a fire truck in the venue then.
Claire B: Does Ricky usually plan his antics in advance or was that pure spur of the moment?
I think he has a look around to see what’s there, obviously the pool was there in the middle of the venue so that was quite an obvious place to go I guess … I don’t know really, he never tells us, so it’s always a surprise for us.
Claire B: You’re probably sick of being asked this, but I’m going to ask you anyway. Do you think Ricky’s appearance on The Voice has made any difference to your recent record sales?
Probably. I think also we’ve been around for ten years and once you’ve been around for a long time you do have a tendency to drop off the radar a little bit because people have bought your records, they’ve seen you so… So seeing Ricky on the show reminded the fans about us, I think it definitely helped with that. But I think that without a good record we would have been useless. There are many people who have been on the Voice and The X Factor and haven’t had big record sales and I think it’s because it was a good record – they made a good combination.
Claire B: Have you been watching any of the other bands at recent festivals you’ve been at?
A few. I’m just trying to think. Phoenix, they’re French, we played with them in Belgium.
Claire B: So who is impressing you musically at the moment?
New band wise, at Glastonbury I went to see a band called Temples who I think have been to Ibiza Rocks already and they’re great, and I like Courtney Barnett, she’s really, really good I think.
Claire B: What has been your personal highlight so far of being in The Kaiser Chiefs?
Erm, I think a personal high was playing two gigs at Glastonbury, this year was one of the best moments of the whole thing. When we first started, there were loads of really good moments all the time, but this year I think has been… So playing there, but the best thing is being at number one again, it was one of the best achievements, was one of the best things we’ve done in terms of achievements, but it all seemed to be… When we got to Glastonbury this year we played first, we opened up, and then we played in the tent later on in the evening, we headlined, and I just felt that was the pay-off, that really felt like a moment of being back, if you know what I mean, that was the reward of being number one – we played two great gigs, it was a great feeling.
Claire B: What else do you want to achieve with them?
I’d like to err … we’ve been going for ten years as a band and I think we’re all really proud of the fact that we’re still doing it and we’re still together and making good music, and it’s going well. We’ve been at number one again and have been playing great gigs – I just want to continue doing that. I’d like to win a few more awards and have a few more number one’s and I’d really like to, I think the thing we’d really like to do is to headline a big major festival. We headlined some before, I think Isle of White is the biggest one we’ve ever headlined which is great but it would be nice to headline Leeds or Reading or Glastonbury or something like that one day.
Claire B: What’s an ideal gig for you? Do you prefer playing in smaller intimate venues or large stadiums or festivals?
Very un-coolly, I like to play to as many people as humanly possible. I think one of the best things you can do is to look out over a sea of people all singing and stuff. I think the Ibiza gig will be great because the people are always up for it, which makes our job a lot easier.
Claire B: Do you think you’ll get chance to see any of the island whilst you’re here?
I’m staying an extra day so I’m hoping to have a little run around and enjoy Ibiza and the relaxed atmosphere – I like it, it’s good.
The Kaiser Chiefs are playing at Ibiza rocks on September 3rd.